Chris' Special Tie Knot

Chris' Special Tie Knot

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What I'm Made Of...


Hey all, this week has been a great one, I'm so glad to be here on another P~Day in my church building writing to my fam and friends. So to start off the week, my companion and I went walking around Trencin with one of our members. He is t
he biggest diva in the world, and he knows a lot about history and mythology, and took us all around the town (I think I sent the pictures last week) and told us about everything there, it was really cool. Also, I tried a Slovak hamburger (I've been too scared up to this point, I've only had them in the 1 American style resteraunt in Bratislava, and McDonalds, and McDonalds is NOT good), and I have to say...I was spectacularly unsatisfied. It was small and not beef and altogether unAmerican which made it total chuff. I mean, what the flip, why would you call something a hamburger, when clearly the person making it has never even seen a hamburger before, let alone knows how it's supposed to taste. Suffice it to say, I'm missing Wendy's. 

Hotel Alzbeta, Trencin, Slovakia
Tuesday was pretty boring, we just contacted and taught and stuff, but whoohoo, Lord's work is slowly getting done. Wednesday, I took my companion on an adventure. We decided to delve into the unknown world known as Piescany! We got a referral there, and since I've already been to Piescany once, I felt like I knew the city well enough to find my way to the referral. The truth is...Of COURSE I knew the city well enough, are you kidding me? Last time, I was there, we spent all day there because the referral was fake and we weren't sure what to think so we kept switching numbers around and searching for that address instead. Anyway, we found the referral but he wasn't home, BUT we did get to be the guinea pigs for the entire European Zone and try out a new rule: Whenever you go to contact a referral or less-active member whom you haven't met before, you are supposed to tract 10 doors in both directions. I feel it's a little bit sad that they had to actually make this a rule,
because it kind of just felt like a reflex, but oh well. That went great, it was fun. 

Elder Brousseau and his Zone Leader
The next day was an exchange with the Zone Leaders, which was kinda crazy. I was with an elder who is 6' 8" and English. That was weird, but fun. We tried out this thing he calls "fear contacting." It's where you contact people that you 100% *know* are going to reject you, like big groups of high school girls (they're so scary to contact here, they just make fun of you), just to prove to yourself and the Lord that you can work through your fear to fulfill his purposes. I think he had as much fun as I did on the exchange, and at the end, he shared some really cool experiences with me, and gave me a talk to read, it's by David Stewart called the Action Guide to Finding. He and President McConkie both told me to take everything he says there with a grain of salt, but the talk is really good, it's basically just fighting for the art of contacting and tracting, because lots of people don't do them anymore. Also, forgot, on Wednesday we had all the missionaries from Zilina come and practice for our concert next week, which is going to be awesome (sorry mom and dad, I've been working on getting some of these arrangements recorded and sent, but they haven't worked out well so far.=S). 

After that, on Saturday, we were able to have a great meeting with a lady, she's doing so well, she's just worried about committing to a date at the moment. Keep her in your prayers, I'm going to be exercising my priesthood and making a big promise to her pretty soon, so we'll see where that miracle will take us. 

Walnut Candles
Sunday is where I got the title for this email, so hold onto your seat-belts, it's gonna get bumpy. Sunday was a pretty bad day, in that we had church, where the members got mad at me for not coming before them and cleaning everything up for church, even though I live a half hour away without bikes or a car. We had no investigators show up for church, even though like normal, all of them said they would. The lesson in priesthood meeting made NO sense at all, and was full of speculation that I wasn't able to calm down and do away with. After church, we went contacting, and no one wanted to talk to us to the point where the whole time we only gave out 2 fliers for our concert and nothing else. After that, we went over to a member's house and helped her shell walnuts, and in the middle of it, a sister missionary cut her finger really deeply on accident. She had to get stitches this morning, and has a wonderful story I'll have to tell you when I get home, I'll write it in my journal. After that, my companion and I just went home and plopped into bed because we were so tired and downtrodden.

But here are the miracles: The Branch President has made a full recovery, in part due to the blessing I gave him, and is PHYSICALLY ABLE to beat us to church and lead the branch again. We have officially re-activated 2 less active members, and we had 2 other less actives show up to church, where we had wonderful talks from members. Our branch continues to do as the prophets have directed us and ASK questions, and seek for truth, I'm not condoning speculation, but the important part is they're pondering the gospel. When we went contacting, we re-established, completely "by chance," contact with that dropped investigator from last transfer, and we were able to meet a young mother who is interested in coming to the concert, because thank heavens, the family is being attacked here in Slovakia and is a huge subject of debate among the politicians at the moment. Almost all of the super strong Catholics here have dug in their heels for the family as ordained by God, and are becoming at least more interested in our churches stances on the family. 

Notice the sister's finger...
At the member's house, I was able to put all the first aid I've been learning throughout my whole life being a lifeguard and a scout, getting all those merit badges, and taking medical anatomy in school into action. I saw her cut her finger and realized after a minute that everyone was just standing around looking at her, and she was turning white, so I just took control of the situation and helped her out. I didn't do very much more than talk to her about her family and wrap up her finger with tape, some antiseptic and a gauze pad, but it was enough to keep her calm and help everyone else there keep calm too, and the best part was, after she was feeling well enough to stand up and come sit at the table again (She lost a LOT of blood), the member was so impressed by us and the way we handled everything, we started a spiritual discussion, and she shared with us her favorite chapter from the B of M, which is Moroni 8 about children being alive in Christ. So cool, I loved that feeling when I got home, even though I had been rejected and beaten, I knew that I had spent that day in the complete service of the Lord. No satisfaction could be greater than literally not being able to stand because you've walked and talked for the Lord so much. I love this work, and I love this gospel and I'm so grateful to have family and friends behind me who are there to support me every step of the way.

Milujem vas vsetkych, vy ste kazdy tak dolezity pre mna a boha. Viem ze tato cirkev je naozaj ta prava, a zelam uz kazdym aby to vedel. Ja som tak vdacny za to, ze som mohol sem prist, a za to, ze som bol pripraveny sluzit. Ja viem ze zije spasitel a, ze to je najdolezitejsia znalost po celom svete. Toto hovorim v mene Jezisa Krista amen.

(Google translate: I love you all, you are each so important for me and God. I know that this church is really the right one, and wish that everyone knew it. I am so grateful that I was able to come here, and that I was ready to serve. I know the Savior lives and that this is the most important knowledge around the world. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.)

Elder Chris Brousseau

Monday, May 19, 2014

Dangers of too much halusky...

Beautiful Trecin, Slovakia

Haha, now my family knows how to say that and what it means!

Weight pre-halusky
Heaping Halusky!
On the downside, I don't want to have to go through the process of having my language skills decrease like almost every return missionary has to worry about when they get home... But good news, I got to Skype yesterday with my family because of a huge miracle that's happened here! The miracle involves my upstairs neighbor, a retired biochemist who really misses her kids, and my mission president who gave us permission to do something usually completely forbidden to missionaries (use a non-member's computer). Just cool stuff.

Unbelievable finish!
So into our week. Monday was basically just a huge Zazitok. My companion and myself had the family home evening that every missionary dreams of: New family that we tracted into, beautiful young married couple who have 3 darling children, all of them, even the 3 year old are bi-lingual, and they just love you on sight. We played a game (in English) called Shadows under Camelot or something like that, it was kind of a weird game, but I liked it, it was nice. Afterwards, to reward ourselves for our hard work/success, we decided to use an extra potato making Halusky. Holy crap. I made so much I felt prompted to take a picture of my weight before I started eating. There was 4.2 pounds of Halusky that was on my plate and I ate it all and then we couldn't really do anything the rest of the night but lie down, I don't think I'm doing that again anytime soon...
Weight post-halusky

On to conference with President McConkie
The rest of my week has actually been pretty boring up until a couple of things that have happened. 1: We received a paper this week from our Lawyer in Bratislava with proof that we are a real registered church here, and that we really do have the right to preach and advertise and tract and contact people, because some missionaries have been running into the problem of people calling the police on them when they tract their houses. I refuse to say whether or not I was one of these. 2: We got to take a walk around Trencin with a man and see all of these really cool things that you would never think of looking at if you weren't a Slovak who lives there, such as these pill boxes that are all over the place because this city is constantly prepared for war, but doesn't want to look like they are. Kinda scary, but really cool.

Standing room only

On Friday, all of the Elders who are serving in Nitra came and stayed in our little apartment overnight, and we had interviews with President. Our President is SO inspired, and I just love him to death, it's so cool. On that note from before though, most entertaining night of my mission so far, five other missionaries and myself all in the same little flat just being crazy missionaries, it was so great. Then the next day we had the anniversary party for the day Slovakia was Dedicated by President Uchtdorf. That party was crazy, I don't know if I can describe it in words, it was just amazing to see all these members from all over Slovakia filling up our ward-house, it was so cool, and spiritual. And then we had gulas. I think I'm going to be the illest gulas-maker when I get home. Or maybe not. I haven't actually tried cooking it yet.

Celebrating the church in Slovakia
Then Sunday happened. Just had an awesome talk that I gave and a cool day at church where we finally had an actual full, it was really cool, and our investigator came to church and I could tell he had a really good experience, so that was exciting. I hope that you are all doing very well and that my mom gets very healthy.
Love you all so much,
Elder Chris Brousseau

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Follow Spiritual Promptings

Angels of Slovakia!

Hey all, gosh, I know I've been saying this my whole mission, but everything is going by SO fast. So first off, I want to start off with a shout out to some angels in my life, I love you mom, you're SO wonderful! I was talking with my companion earlier this week about how weird it is for me to think that you served a mission, and how much it's helped me to respect you more. Two of my favorite gals, don't think I forgot about you 2, there are always letters in the mail, I just can't wait for you to get all of them! My favorite cousin my age, thank you SO much, your emails mean the world to me, they're always so thoughtful and entertaining, and gosh, you are a good storyteller, you're probably the best princess ever. Anyway, I'm just super grateful that I've been surrounded by such amazing people and I'm very grateful for each of you that I'm emailing as well, believe it or not, each of you has been a very good influence on me, and I appreciate it.

District Conference in Czech/Slovak
So I don't have very much time to write, I hope that I'll be able to get my ideas across quickly in ways that make sense. So this week we had a whole lot of crazy. We had to switch up like 9 lessons because we had Zone Conference & District Conference on the days we were supposed to have them. On the bright side, Zone Conference was awesome, we had a visit from the temple president in Freiberg, Germany, and also an area 70 from Finland. The Finnish man's talk was very weird, I think it made sense in Finnish, but translated into Czech it kind of seemed to lose a lot of meaning which was unfortunate. We had the opportunity on Saturday to go to the adult session of District Conference, which was AMAZING, and I was so blessed, I got to meet a lot of the youth in Slovakia, with whom I have not yet had the privilege of serving, especially those in places like Bratislava and Kosice. I'm so grateful for that opportunity to go to both sessions of District Conference, and I heard that they're from now on allowing all of the youth to go to it as well. I'm not sure why, nor if it is true throughout the world, but it's a very cool opportunity.
Following spiritual promptings

New Friends
We've had a lot of miracles this past week, one of which stands out particularly in my mind. We had just had a lesson cancel on us, and we were left with nothing to do but contact along this little path next to the river for 2 and a half hours, which I was not looking forward to at all. We went all the way up the path to the edge of Trencin, without meeting a single person who would even say hello to us. When we turned back however, I had an impression to go check out a little park they have for Cub Scouts here, and when we went there, down on the riverbank we saw a man taking pictures of the sunset. We watched him for a second, and I had an impression to go talk to him about Easter. We went up and started a conversation about Slovak traditions for Easter, and he was sort of awkwardly talking with us, because he already knew missionaries (like everyone here), and didn't really want to talk, but he was surprised that I wasn't trying to talk to him about what I believe about Easter, but what his people believed, so he talked to us despite his lack of interest and let us teach a lesson on the Savior, and then while we were ending our lesson, another man walked up and said hi to the first man and asked him who we were and the first man introduced us. The first man left then and thanked us for talking with him, and the second man immediately asked us what we were talking about and we told him and he proceeded to teach us everything about Slovak traditions, even cutting branches off of trees to show us how to make korbaciky, and asking questions about our church the whole time. Apparently, he had heard and met with us before, but he also was very surprised by the fact that we wanted to talk to him about him. I think I'm going to try this strategy more often, it got me 2 solid lessons.

I love you all, hope that helped your day a little.

Elder Brousseau

Spring rains in Trencin
Beautiful Slovak Sunset